I will begin this post by saying that I am first and foremost, an Ohio State fan. However, I like to think of myself as a rational, clear-thinking Buckeye. The success that the University of Cincinnati has experienced the last two years has not made me jealous. Actually, I couldn’t be happier for them and their football program. I rooted for them to win every week and really hoped they would get a shot at playing in the BCS Championship game.
Brian Kelly has led the Bearcats to back-to-back Big East Championships. Last year, an 11-2 regular season landed them in the Orange Bowl where they were beaten by Virginia Tech. This season, the Bearcats posted a perfect 12-0 regular season and are set to take on the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. It has been a dream season for the players, students, fans and city of Cincinnati.
Until last night.
Kelly has left Cincinnati to become the next football coach at Notre Dame. Is Notre Dame really his dream job? Did he just follow the money? I don’t know and neither do you. We both do know that we would do the same thing. I would just do it differently.
He informed the players that he was leaving last night at what was supposed to be the team’s post-season banquet. He entered the Westin hotel in downtown Cincinnati surrounded by police officers and would not comment to the media. So, the man who is supposed to be a leader for these young men sneaks in and out of the building with a police escort while the kids are forced to answer questions from reporters.
I respect every player on that football team. They are certainly more of a man than their former coach. The whole situation was handled poorly by Kelly. Last night, he proved to be a complete coward.
Every member of the UC football team is facing the biggest challenge of their football career. They are going to be facing a great team on a national stage and looking to show the country they are a championship caliber team. They are looking to further drive home the point that Ohio State is not the only football program in Ohio.
And the man who is supposed to lead them bolts for another coaching job…
Kelly will head to South Bend with expectations and blank check. If he can meet the high expectations of the once proud Irish football program, he will make more money than anyone could possibly imagine. The Bearcats are left standing at the altar.
If a player decides to transfer to another school, he must sit out a year. He is penalized for jumping ship when his coach is permitted to do it whenever he wants.
UC athletic director Mike Thomas announced that offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn will coach the team in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.
There will be other leaders on the field, like the young man in the video below.